Lilia has an after school enrichment class that she takes every Friday called “Mad Science.” That means, every Friday after school, she’s rearing to do some science experiments. Sometimes she brings something from class that we can continue at home, like making Play-Doh from scratch. Today we decided to make DIY (do-it-yourself) lava lamps because it seemed like an entertaining, yet effortless project. We already had the necessary ingredients, except for Alka Seltzer, which we picked up at the drugstore. Also, you can use a plastic bottle, especially if you’re concerned about little ones handling glass. I had two pasta sauce jars that I was going to recycle so I decided to use those instead. I was going to be supervising and it didn’t make sense to go out and buy plastic bottles for this reason alone. Here’s how we did it:
1. Fill each bottle half way with vegetable oil.
2. Fill the rest of the bottle with water, leaving about an inch of room at the top.
3. Squeeze 10 drops of food dye into the bottle.
4. Place about 1/4 of an Alka Seltzer tablet into the bottle and watch it bubble away!
5. When it stops bubbling, you can add another 1/4 and it will start right back up again.
The bubbling part was a big hit, but the kids were honestly intrigued every step of the way. Mixing the water and oil alone had them captivated. The excitement amplified when they put in the food coloring and watched it slowly drip its way down to the bottom of the jar. They were both jumping up and down shouting, “Whoa! Look at mine!” After a couple of rounds of Alka Seltzer, we sealed up the lids and they had fun turning the jar upside down to see what would happen to the liquid. Both lava lamps are currently sitting on the table and the kids keep running back and investigating the contents of the jar. Not too bad for a quick, inexpensive experiment.